Showing posts with label shingon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shingon. Show all posts

Friday, January 26, 2024

Taisanji Temple 52 on the Shikoku pilgrimage


The main hall of Taisan-ji Temple, built in 1305, in the mountains to the northwest of Matsuyama City is a National Treasure and is truly one of the most elegant of the buildings on the pilgrimage.

Number 52 on the Shikoku pilgrimage, it claims to be one of the oldest temples on the pilgrimage.

According to the legend, Mano Choja, a wealthy man from Bungo in Kyushu was heading to Osaka on business in 587. Caught in a storm, his ship was in danger of sinking but was saved by a light shining from the spot where the temple now stands.

Guided to land safely, he climbed the mountain and discovered a miniature statue of Kannon.

He came back with a team of craftsmen from Bungo and according to the legend raised the main hall in one night. Later Gyoki visited and carved a Kannon statue and placed the original statue discovered by Choja inside it. In 739 Gyoki built the temple in the form it is now.

It is said that Shotoku Taishi visited here and there is a statue of him in the octagonal Shtokutaishi Hall.

Later, Kobo Daishi visited and converted the temple to Shingon. The Nio gate also dates back to the temple rebuilding of 1305. In the next post, I will show some of the statues and paintings found here.

The previous post in this series on the Shikoku Ohenro was on temple 51, Ishiteji Temple.

Monday, October 30, 2023

Jimyoin Betsuin Temple


The Sasaguri Pilgrimage is a miniature version of the Shikoku 88 temple pilgrimage known as Ohenro. All the temples on the Sasaguri Pilgrimage are within the limits of Sasaguri, a town in the mountains east of Hakata, Fukuoka, and the whole route covers about 50 kilometers, yet the walking pilgrim passes by numerous other temples that are not part of the pilgrimage.

Jimyoin Betsuin Temple is one such temple, located along a mountain road to the north of Narufuchi Dam. We visited on our way down the mountain late in the afternoon of the 1st day walking the pilgrimage after having already visited more than twenty temples.

A Betsuin is a direct branch temple, and this one seems to be a branch of a Jimyoin Temple near Nanzoin further east. It is unstaffed and there was little information though it does appear to be relatively new.

What is known is that the temple belongs to the Shingon sect and has a Daishi-do, Yakushi-do, and across the road a Kannon-do.

The main hall enshrines the honzon, a Fudo Myo, and I will cover it and the many other Fudo statues in the grounds in the next post.

Photo 3 shows, I believe, an Aizen Myo, and the statues in photo 4 very much look in what seems to be Korean-style.

Photo 5 is probably Bishamonten, one of the Four Heavenly Kings, and the one most likely found alone without the other three. I'm not sure of the dragon in photo 6, but it looks a lot like Kurikara, the dragon representing the sword of Fudo Myo, except it is usually shown wrapped around a sword.

Photo 7 is the Shichifukujin, the Seven Lucky Gods. Have no idea what photo 8 is although its meaning seems somewhat obvious. Photo 9 is the Nio guardians from the rear looking across the road to the Yakushi-do.

The previous post in this series on the Sasaguri Pilgrimage was on the small  Hagio Amida-do we visited a little higher up the mountain road.

Friday, August 4, 2023

Seisuiji Temple 7 Iwami Kannon Pilgrimage


Seisuiji Temple is a small place up in the middle of what used to be the silver mine in the World Heritage Iwami Ginzan sites.

It is number 7 on the Iwami Mandala Kannon Pilgrimage route, but used to be number 1,  the starting point of the original Edo Period Iwami Kannon Pilgrimage.

It was located high up on the mountain and was probably the most important temple for the mine back in the late 15th, and early 16th centuries.

It was moved to its current location at the base of the mountain in 1878. The gate was moved here in 1931 from a defunct temple that administered the main shrine of the mine. 

The honzon is an eleven-headed Kannon, and the main gate houses a wonderful pair of guardian statues, a Fudo Myo and a Bishamonten. Seisuiji is a Shingon temple.

During the heyday of the mine, the temple received many donations and much support from merchants, samurai, daimyo, and even the Shogun.

This visit was on the 4th day of my walk along the Iwami Pilgrimage, and the previous post was of my walk up through the preservation district of Omori, the town that serviced the mine.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Joruriji Temple 46 Shikoku pilgrimage


Joruriji is located on the southern edge of Matsuyama City, and is the first of 8 temples around Matsuyama that are on the Shikoku pilgrimage.

The previous two temples, Iwayaji, and Daihoji, are both high in the mountains so it is quite a contrast to drop down into flatter terrain. Matsuyama is also the largest city along the route since Kochi.

According to the legend the temple was founded by the famous monk Gyoki which would make it the early 8th century. I believe a total of 37 of the 88 temples claim Gyoki as their founder.

As with the others, it is said Kukai came to the site about a century later and rebuilt or re-established the temple.

There are several smaller shrines, including this one to Benten.

I visited in the first week of January so the new year offerings were still on the altars.

The grounds are wooded and gardened, with a trio of thousand-year-old Juniper trees being noteworthy.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Myooin Temple 2 Shikoku Fudo Myo Pilgrimage

Japan Travel

Myooin is the second temple on the Shikoku 36 temple Fudo Myo pilgrimage and I reached it at the end of my second day of walking.

The first temple had been Taisanji, and for these first 2 days I had been following almost the same route as the famous 88 temple pilgrimage, however after visiting Horinji my route carried on up the Yoshino River and several kind people stopped their cars and told me I was going the wrong way..... which of course i was not.

Myoonji is not a particularly impressive temple though it is said to have been founded in the mid 9th century. Later it was patronized by the Hosokawa clan and prospered. In the great Yoshino River flood of 1544 the temple was completely destroyed and its statues were found downstream.

It was rebuilt in 1618 and was responsible for a dozen sub-temples in the area. It is said the daimyo would sometimes stay here on hunting trips. The honzon is known as Nezumi Fudo, "mouse fudo" as the amulet is said to keep mice from damaging crops. The main hall was rebuilt in 1989 at the founding of the Shikoku Fudo pilgrimage.

One of 6he reasons behind the number 36 associated with Fudo is that he is said to have 36 doji, young children who served as his attendant and acolytes. With the founding of the pilgrimage each temple received a statue of a different doji.

This is the one at Myoonji,  Seitaka Doji, which is one of the pair of doji that are commonly seen in a triad with Fudo.

I visited in mid-December, and the fallen leaves on the bushes were striking....

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Jyokoji Temple 8 Shodoshima Pilgrimage


I reached Jokoji, number 8 temple on the 88 temple Shodoshima Pilgrimage, after coming down from the mountains visible in this first photo where I had visited the amazing mountain cave temples of Dounzan and Goishizan high up in the mountains.

The large, walled compound and belfry gate was quite a contrast, and I think this was the biggest temple I had visited on my first day walking the Shodoshima Pilgrimage.

The temple was founded in the mid 8th century by Gyoki, though it was located furter up the side of the mountain. It was destroyed in the 16th century when a Christian daimyo held sway over the island and destroyed many temples.

The temple was rebuilt in the mid to late 17th century. The small Yakushi-do in the precincts dates to 1665 The main hall was rebuilt in 1986. The honzon is a Yakushi Nyorai and the temple belongs to the Shingon sect.

Flanking the Yakushi statue is a statue of Fudo and one of Kobo Daishi. The ceiling is covered in paintings done by members of the temple. They seem to be mostly fruit, vegetable, and flowers..

It seems it was once a very rich and poerful temple. In the mid 19th century a Christian believer was found in the parish and the temple was punished by having the tax-free status of its lands rescinded. In the Meiji Period with Shinbutsu Bunri, it lost control of several shrines, and in the postwar land reforms, most of its properties were confiscated.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Kongoji Temple 58 on the Kyushu Pilgrimage


My last stop on day49 of my first walk around Kyushu was Kongoji. temple number 58 on the Kyushu Pilgriage, which I have recently read claims to be the longest pilgrimage in Japan.

After the somewhat bizarre architecture of the previous temple, Naritasan Taishoji, it was somewhat of a relief to see a failr standard, urban temple, located in "downtown" Arao.

I could find no date for the temple, though it belongs to the Koyasan Shingon sect, and the honzon is a Dainichi Nyorai.

On the approach to the temple there are 88 memorial stones set in the grounds, and underneath each one is small amount of dirt collected at each of the 88 temples of the Shikoku Pilgrimage. They ahve also done the same with then 33 temples of the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage.

I Didn't venture inside, but apparentky they have some kind of "Peace Flame" that was lit with fames from a temple in China and a temple in India.